The Burning Question: We can’t burn half the world’s oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?
Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy’s Big Climate Change Debate
As debate continues to rage about the role technologies such as ‘fracking’ should play in the UK’s future energy security, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes the first part of its 5th Assessment Report. One of its key findings is that the world has already burnt more than half the maximum amount of fossil fuel that can be consumed if catastrophic global warming is to be avoided.
With several CCCEP academics contributing as lead authors to the 5th report, this year, the Centre’s contribution to the ESRC Festival Of Social Science will consider ‘The Burning Question: We can’t burn half the world’s oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?’
Based on his recent book of the same title, journalist and author Duncan Clark will outline the simple truth that tackling global warming will mean persuading the world to abandon fossil fuel reserves worth trillions of dollars. The burning question is whether and how this can be done. What mix of politics, psychology, economics and technology might be required? Are the energy companies massively overvalued and how will carbon cuts affect the global economy? Will we wake up to the threat in time? And who can do what to make it all happen?
His presentation will be followed by a series of impact statements from our expert panel which will address this last question, after which our panellists will take questions from the audience.
- ‘The Burning Question’ slides (PDF, 2.48MB)
List of panel members with relevant documents and links for further reading and follow up:
- Professor John Barrett (Chair): Professor of Sustainability Research, University of Leeds, and a lead author for the International Panel on Climate Change, Working Group III
More information: Following the 2010 UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, this UKERC (UK Energy Research Centre) Energy Insights paper, ‘Carbon Emission Accounting – Balancing the books‘ (PDF, 821KB), based on research by Professor John Barrett and his research team, was written to provide a summary of the situation and suggest ways for the UK to achieve a ‘real’ reduction in GHG emissions.
- Louise Ellis: Head of Sustainability, University of Leeds
More information: The University of Leeds’ Carbon Management Plan, mentioned by Louise Ellis
- George Munson: Energy and Climate Change Manager, Leeds City Council
More information: The Leeds Climate Change Strategy 2012-2015 (PDF, 1.68MB), referred to by George Munson
- Professor Paul Routledge: Professor in Social and Urban Change, School of Geography, University of Leeds
More information: Paul Routledge touched on the significance of social movements and demands for climate justice. In this article, ‘Articulating Climate Justice in Copenhagen: antagonism, the commons, and solidarity‘ (PDF, 633KB), authors Paul Routledge, Paul Chatterton and David Featherstone, contend that articulations of climate justice were central to the diverse mobilisations that opposed the Copenhagen Climate Talks in December 2009.
- Emma Simpson: People & Planet
Back in July 2012, Bill McKibben wrote an article for the Rolling Stone, which appeared as the preface in ‘The Burning Question’. People & Planet has joined forces with the 350.org campaign, founded by Bill McKibben, ‘to ensure UK universities live up to their promises to tackle climate change and go Fossil Free’.
More information: People & Planet’s Fossil Free campaign